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Zeema the baby toucan is getting bigger but the care she needs is complicated due to her health issues.

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Zeema's first video:

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Welcome back to Animal Wonders!  I'm Jessi.  You guys might remember a while ago, I introduced our newest rescue, a baby toucan.  She was in pretty rough shape and I'm really excited to give you an update.


So, it's morning right now and Zeema the keel billed toucan is hungry.  Let's give her her breakfast and let's clean up her space.  First things first, let's get her some food, but I need to give her her medicine with her breakfast.  Come here, pretty girl.  Come on up.  Good girl.  Nice job.  

Here, come on over here with me.  Wanna go on there?  I know you see the blueberries.  Zeema has a respiratory infection.  She came in with it and we've been spending the last month trying to get her healthy.  It's been a challenge.  We thought that we had cleared it up with her first round of antibiotics, but it came back with a vengeance so we gave her another round of antibiotics that did not work, so now, we are on a different kind of antibiotic and it's actually really easy to give toucans medicine.  I just hide it in a blueberry.  Would you eat that?  Yeah, that's all for you.  Get it.  Good girl!  

She's also on an antifungal  Soft bill birds are really susceptible to fungal infections, so we just want to make sure we're covering all of our bases.  See, isn't that so easy?  So easy.  These guys don't have very good taste buds so it's not like she's tasting it and then spitting it out, but I do have to be careful that I don't mush the fruit up because they're very sensitive to texture. 

 (02:00) to (04:00)

If you notice, Zeema's missing something.  Do you guys see it?  She's missing her tail feathers.  The reason that her tail feathers are no longer there, she did have them when she first came in, but she broke them all off as she was trying to move around.  She's about four months old, we think, and at this age, she would be fledging in the wild, and she's trying to but the problem is, the previous owners cut all of her primary feathers off, so she cannot fly, so that wouldn't always be a problem.  She would be able to exercise her wings even though she couldn't fly, she could still flap, but the other problem is is that she also has an injured leg.

Her left leg here is broken and--previously broken--and she cannot grip with it and she kind of lays on it, kind of like the (?~2:56) here, so she would normally be able to grip on to a perch and just flap her wings and work those muscles and get her energy out, but she can't do that and she can't fly, so she has all this pent up energy and she's trying to bounce around from perch to perch and when she does that, she loses her balance.  She crashes, she falls over on her tail, and she breaks her tail feathers.

You can really see her tail feathers here.  She actually has two new ones growing in, see those two, and look at them, they're little baby tail feathers.  I'm really hoping that she keeps these and she does not break those off, too.  

Alright, Zeema is so ready for breakfast.  Okay, that's my mic, yep.  Let's get your food.  Today, she is getting some blueberries, some papaya, and some yam, steamed yam, so it's nice and soft, just the way she likes it, but yam is not her favorite, so she will eat--oh, are you gonna eat it?  Eat it, eat it, eat it.  Yeah.  That's what I thought.  

So we're gonna go ahead and set her in here and clean up her space.

 (04:00) to (06:00)

Alright, you hop on down there.  Let me give you your food.  The thing about toucans is they eat fruit and poop out jelly, and so we're just gonna clean it all up, scrub it down, and I have some water with vinegar in it.  They are also very sensitive to chemicals so we can't use any kind of cleaning solutions.  

Zeema really enjoys interaction and attention so she kinda, she kinda likes cleaning time.  She usually comes and bugs me.  Are you getting that?  Nice job.  Ooh, get me, too, yeah.  Yeah.  Toucans use their beak to explore and play.  What is that?  (?~4:52) make it a little ball.  Get it.  Ready?  Catch.  Catch.  Good catch.  That was awesome.  

Alright, if you guys notice that she is on very low perches, we have this nice big enclosure for her, but all of the perches are very low.  That's because she, one, can't fly, and also because of her bum leg, she does fall off of her perches and we wouldn't want her hopping up to a high perch and then falling off and hurting herself, so we keep them nice and low.  It's great for her to practice jumping from one to the next.  They're very different than parrots.  Parrots use their beaks to climb and toucans don't, they just jump from perch to perch or fly short distances.  

You guys might also notice this black thing here.  That is a heat panel.  Because Zeema does not have her full flight feathers, she was having a hard time keeping herself warm, and so we gave her a supplemental heat so she would stay nice and warm with that heat there.

 (06:00) to (08:00)

She is growing in more of her feathers around her bottom here and that is helping her regulate her heat again.

Alright, we have her floor clean now, so I am just going to switch out this towel, give her a new towel.  Here you go, and some fresh, clean water, and we need both because Zeema loves taking baths, so she'll hop in here.  She'll get all over the place, makes a nice, huge mess.   

A lot of times, toucans will use their legs to hold something so they'll put a toy under their foot and hold on to it, and then they'll like, play with it.  Zeema has trouble doing that because she can't hold things with her left foot and perch with her right, and she also can't put all of her weight on her left foot and hold things with her right, so she's, she's struggling just a little bit with it, but look, she's figured out how to do it.

Now, we have this beautiful enclosure and we actually had this enclosure custom-made by CD&E and they made these beautiful panels so that she can have a view.  So she can't get up to this perch on her own right now, but I like her to get up here--here you go, good girl, what do you think?  She will eventually be able to get up here, as soon as her flight feathers come back in, she'll be able to fly in here.  She will hopefully be able to hop up here as well.  We'll get little perches that she can jump.

Alright, so serious talk.  Her leg is previously broken and it calcified.  It didn't heal correctly, which is why she has so much trouble perching.  Now, we have two options.  We can leave it the way it is and she will be handicapped for the rest of her life, or we can anesthetize her and rebreak the leg and then set it correctly.  

 (08:00) to (10:00)

Those were the two choices that our veterinarian gave us, and we have decided that we are going to go ahead and rebreak her leg so we can get her to a place where she can perch normally.  I think that will vastly improve her quality of life.  That's not gonna happen right now and the reason we can't do it just right away is because she has this ongoing respiratory infection.  We have to clear that respiratory infection.  She has to be as healthy as possible before we put her under anesthesia and that's just because anesthesia is very risky and we want to make sure we mitigate as many risks as possible for the best possible outcome.

I don't know if you guys can really tell, but she is like, all over the place.  She likes biting things, she likes just playing and exploring with her beak all the time.  This, by the way, this does not hurt at all.  It's a very gentle beak, but she has--she has all this energy and she wants to get it out, and normally, she would be flying around, so to get this puppy-like energy out, we do something creative.

Let's come on out under the plant.  So because she has a hard time when she flaps--she almost falls.  She knows what we're gonna do right now.  I'm gonna just hold on to her under her wings to support her, and then we're gonna practice flying.  You wanna do it?  Ready?  Whee!  There you go!  Get that energy out.  Build up those muscles.  Exercise!  It's so good for you.  We have to take it easy though.  You guys notice that she is breathing very heavily right now and that is because of that respiratory infection and she does not have much stamina, so we have to kind of walk a fine line between making sure she gets her energy out and gets her exercise, builds her muscles, but also that we don't over-do it.  

 (10:00) to (12:00)

Okay, ready for a little bit more?  Gonna hold on to you again.  And fly!  Good job, Zeema.  Now, we have a lot of fun with this.  Sometimes I'll just stand here and we'll do that, but other times, we'll actually just run around and I'll just--she'll just pretend fly all over the place and it's really fun for both of us.  

Obviously I have a lot of fun with her.  It's very important that she gets a ton of socialization.  These guys would form little flocks of about eight in the wild.  She'd be learning from--here, you wanna jump?  Good girl!  They would be learning from their elders and also their peers but they would constantly be moving and engaging and exploring and so that's super important for her and we're just finding creative ways that we can make that happen in her life with her handicaps. 

Zeema is a bit of an unusual case for Animal Wonders because she is living in our household, but we have an active family and that really supports that socialization aspect.  My favorite thing is when we pretend fly, run around the house, and my daughter has her stuffed whale join us.  

So I hope that you guys enjoyed getting to see Zeema.  She's doing really good.  She's still struggling, but I enjoyed sharing her updates.  If you guys would like more frequent updates, you can check out her own Instagram page, it's zeemathetoucan and go check her out there. 

If you guys have fallen in love with Zeema and you want to give her some toys of your own, you can check out our Amazon Wishlist, link is below, and if you want to go on an adventure with us every week, subscribe to our YouTube channel, AnimalWondersMontana.   Thanks, guys.  


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